If you have questions about events, call Lynn at (781) 608-7218.
Print out the latest concert postcard, and please help us spread the word by passing them out to your friends!
Tickets for concerts in Watertown (not house concerts or other events) can be purchased online at BrownPaperTickets.com.
|Save the date! The Folk Music Society of New York, Inc., along with associated organizations (The Folk Song Society of Greater Boston and others) and with help and advice from the Country Dance and Song Society, will be running TradMaD (Trad Music and Dance) Camp at Pinewoods Camp. The Camp will run from Saturday August 29 to Friday September 4, 2015 and will be for singers, pickers, and dancers. Keep an eye on the website, www.tradmadcamp.org, for ongoing updates.|
Here's what we presented earlier this season:
And here's a preview of next season:
FSSGB is pleased to present "Bound for Glory", a Woody Guthrie Tribute show. This is a free concert performed outside under a tent, adjacent to the Old Manse in Concord, near North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts. It features a lot of FSSGB members, many of whom have performed in former Woody shows way back to the 60's, along with newer FSSGB members.
Moira Craig is from East Kilbride, where her family has lived for generations. She has long been recognized by club and festival goers for her superb interpretations of Scottish, Irish and English songs and ballads. A former winner of the "Sidmouth Singer of the Year" award, Moira became more widely known through her contributions to the Pastimes albums. She also has a solo album, "On Ae Bonny Day". Moira has appeared in Britain, Germany and the USA, charming audiences with her clear ringing voice and wonderful repertoire.
Carolyn Robson is a professional singer and musician specializing in traditional folk song and dance. Her extensive repertoire consists mainly of songs from her native Northumberland and Scotland as well as from other parts of the British Isles. Carolyn has a wealth of singing and teaching experience and has made countless club and festival appearances, featuring in HTV's 2004 documentary on Cecil Sharp. She is now widely recognized as one of country's finest female singers.
Together Craig and Robson bring a new dimension to the art of a-capella singing. They weave beguiling harmonies around material from the British tradition and beyond with "an effortless range and variety unheard in folk music for many years" (Folk London). Timeless songs of love and longing rub shoulders with compelling contemporary songs, and passionate, dramatic ballads take their place alongside a lilting Shetland melody or a stirring hymn from the Ozark mountains. The occasional solo song only adds to the variety of their overall performance. Here is a duo in which two distinctively different voices melt into one another to create a sound which is all their own.
After over 40 years of singing, collecting, teaching and spreading traditional music around the world, Sara Grey seems more enthusiastic about her chosen work than ever. "We don't work at it, we just do it. We just open up our mouths and do it."
Once you have heard Sara Grey you will never forget her. She has a certain quality of voice that compels you to give her your undivided attention. Her voice is both powerful and sweet with a distinctive and lovely tremolo. It is a voice well suited to native American ballads and the ballads of Ireland and Scotland. One of the best things about her singing is that it reflects her great knowledge of and feeling for traditional music. She just seems to know what is right in the interpretation of a traditional song. She is a ballad singer of great strength with a fine understanding of the importance of understatement. Her singing is richly emotional and she is equally at home with a gentle lyric or a harsh account of life on the frontier.
It is not Sara's lovely voice alone that makes her one of the most popular singers on the folk scene, on many of her songs Sara accompanies herself by frailing a five string banjo and, when playing dance tunes, it is obvious why she is regarded as one of the foremost exponents of the clawhammer style. As well as singing and playing, Sara is well known for her storytelling - specialising in stories from New England where she grew up learning many of her stories from her father.
Her son Kieron Means has such a tremendous passion when he sings, it goes right to the very core of himself, he's totally immersed the songs. He is a terrific performer on account of just that passion. His voice is especially striking, achieving the rare combination of a high lonesome edge with a warm richness of timbre, and it has a power to move the listener that few of his generation can match. His guitar playing is unconventional, its spareness a mile away from any notion of fancy picking, but it's highly effective, while his stage presence is charismatic, yet laid-back. His songs range from old-time, through the blues - which he sings with startling conviction - to the work of tradition-influenced songwriters, and his own compositions have people, who know a good song when they hear one, nodding in approval.
"When a child grows up with a parent who sings and plays music, it's just part of their lives--it's bound to happen," Sara continued. "Kieron always knows where I'm going. He knows when I'm going to pause, and I know when he's going to pause--even when it's out of context. We just feel it."
Purchase tickets online at BrownPaperTickets.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.
Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer are talented singers, songwriters, instrumentalists, educators and record producers. The two-time Grammy Award-winning duo are a formidable powerhouse of sound, with a repertoire of traditional and contemporary folk, old-time country and swing music. Their superb harmonies are backed by instrumental virtuosity on the acoustic & electric guitar, five-string banjo, mandolin, cello banjo, ukulele, percussion and many other instruments. They are ready to engage and entertain audiences of all ages, with a broad following in family music and in American Roots styles. Top it off with a witty stage presence and warm audience rapport and you've got a well loved music duo.
They've earned two Grammy Awards, in 2004 and 2005 for "cELLAbration: a Tribute to Ella Jenkins" and for "Bon Appetit!". In 2003, they were Grammy nominated for their CD, "Postcards" in the Best Traditional Folk Album category. They received another Grammy nomination in that category for "Banjo Talkin'". They produced and performed on Tom Paxton's Grammy nominated "Live in the UK" CD and tour. Tom says, "Cathy & Marcy are at home in a dozen musical styles. They swing you, jazz you, and old timey you till you just give up and bliss out."
Sunday, December 7, 2014, 2-5 pm
in the back room at Doyle's Cafe
3484 Washington St.
Jamaica Plain, MA
Sponsored by the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston
and The West Gallery Quire.
Come and sing Carols from the Sheffield, West Gallery, and Sacred Harp traditions (as well as some standard favorites), led by Bruce Randall of The West Gallery Quire.
With special guests, The Paper Bag Mummers, providing merriment and mayhem!
Suitable for all voices and melodic instruments. Music will be available.
Free! (but we will pass the hat for the waitress)
Contact Bruce Randall (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Tim Eriksen & The Trio de Pumpkintown present an evening of Christmas music as intimate as the home hearth and as clear as a winter’s night, bringing a fresh acoustic sound to seasonal standards and sing-along classics as well as rarely heard but stunning songs from the shape-note music repertoire and other early American sources.
Here's a video to give you an idea of what to expect.
Elizabeth LaPrelle has been performing Appalachian ballads and old-time songs, and winning prizes for her singing at fiddlers' conventions, since she was eleven. Her magnificent voice, her respect for the songs, and her authentic mountain sound and style brought her to the attention of first Ginny Hawker and then Sheila Kay Adams. Raised in Rural Retreat, Virginia, Elizabeth learned from singing with her family, who taught her various singing styles and encouraged her to sing their own favorite American folk music. Fiddler's conventions gave her a chance to perform for mountain audiences who encouraged her interest in the traditional music of her region. She graduated from The College of William and Mary in May 2009, with a self-designed major in Southern Appalachian Traditional Performance. When she is not traveling to make music, she spends her time on her parents' farm in Cedar Springs, VA, or in her mother's childhood home just outside Philadelphia.
Sheila Kay Adams said of Elizabeth LaPrelle "Anyone can learn the old ballads. There are numerous collections in libraries and books that are available on-line. But, Elizabeth is interested in the feel, the sound, the ornamentation of these songs. She is, in my opinion, one of maybe a handful of young singers able to capture the rhythm, the intensity, the breaks and sighs, that make this style of singing authentic. The only problem I have while listening to Elizabeth is that I'm always listening through tears. She reminds me so much of my older relatives - the same profound feeling for the ballad, yet with such a clear voice."
Purchase tickets online at BrownPaperTickets.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.
The annual FSSGB members' concert is always a popular event. Our members perform songs which range from traditional ballads to original compositions, and from instrumental to a cappella pieces. Some of the instruments that have been played at this concert in the past include violin, cello, banjo, mandolin, guitar, bass, keyboard and concertina. Some FSSGB members who have performed at this event have gone on to have successful performing careers, such as Elijah Wald, Mark Ryer, Fool's Errand and Merle Roesler.
Our hosts this year will be Ellen Schmidt and Paul Beck. They are a talented performers who play out regularly, often accompanied by fellow FSSGB members. Ellen performs as half of Two for the Show (with Jake Kensinger) and Paul performs as half of Ergo Canto (with Lesley Bryant); Ellen also runs several popular local open mics.
Members are invited to sign up to perform - one song or a spoken word piece. You may perform alone or with others. Some performers have been participating for years; others will do so for the first time. Children are most welcome. The program will feature professional musicians as well as living room folk enthusiasts. All are welcome. The Midweek Singers are an important part of the program as are the many members who show up especially for this event. The audience is always supportive and lively.
FSSGB members (including new members!) are welcome to sign up to perform one song or spoken word piece. Contact Ellen Schmidt at eschmidt01742 AT gmail.com to sign up by January 14th.
Proceeds from this show help keep the Society strong - we thank the performers and the audience for making this event possible.
Click here to hear some recordings done by our talented members!
Join us for a tea party with Maggi Kerr Peirce, author of "A Belfast Girl: A 1960s American folk music legend weaves stories of a girlhood on 'the singing streets' of Ireland, marriage in Scotland, and arrival in America."
Born in 1931 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Maggi grew up with an abiding love of red brick factories and the sonorous moan of the foghorns out on the lough. She has since lived in Stockholm, Amsterdam, London, and Edinburgh and came to the USA in 1964. By 1967, she was director of the Tryworks Coffee House in New Bedford, where she coaxed her young folk to turn to a love of traditional music and song.
Maggi became a storyteller quite by chance when, at a performance in 1972, she was asked to step into the shoes of an absent storyteller. She has become known for her matter-of-fact style of telling. She speaks like someone conversing at a dinner table, peppering her telling with pithy asides. Before long, she was asked to take part in various folk festivals in Canada and America as a singer of Northern Irish pastoral songs. One thing led to another. Recitations, stories, and songs had been part of her upbringing. She shared everything.
Along with many libraries, schools, etc., she has performed at Folk Life on the Mall, the Smithsonian, Mariposa - Toronto, the National Festival at Wolf Trap, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Prairie Home Companion, and Jonesborough Storytelling Festival.
A member of the National Storytelling Network, Maggi lives in Fairhaven, Mass., with her husband, Ken.
Admission: $18 each, $30 if you attend both events
Reservations required; email HouseConcerts@fssgb.org for
reservations and directions.
Martha Burns sings old-time American folk songs the old-time way. Heart songs, cowboy songs, tragic ballads and comic ditties – songs from the mountains and songs from the range. Songs from the earliest period of recorded country music and songs never sung in a studio. Her haunting voice is perfectly suited to her old-time repertoire. An accomplished guitarist, Martha's accompaniments bring out the pith in a song. She has been singing and playing American folk music since Hoover was in the White House - well, almost - and has performed throughout North America and abroad.
You can find out more about Martha on her website, www.marthaburns.net.
Workshop: The Carter Family, from southwestern Virginia, was unquestionably the most influential vocal group in early American country music. From 1927,when A.P., Sara and Maybelle made their first recordings, down to the present day, the Carters' unique style of singing, with three-part harmonies and female leads, has never lost its iconic appeal.
In this two-hour workshop we'll make a close examination of the Carter Family style. Using original recordings of classic songs, we'll isolate each singing part and put the parts together in full arrangements as a group. We'll also listen for rhythmic twists and vocal traits that helped to shape the Carter Family's incomparable music. This workshop is for both sexes and all levels of skill. Bring your voice and don't be shy.
You can find out more about Martha on her new (and still evolving) website, www.marthaburns.net.
Purchase tickets online at BrownPaperTickets.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.
Kim and Reggie Harris are dynamic and superbly talented traditional folk performers, whose captivating stage presence and unique harmonies has earned the respect and love of audiences throughout the US, Canada and Europe for over 30 years. They are unique in their ability to entertain audiences of any age and background as they blend their talents as singers, songwriters, educators, interpreters of history and cultural advocates.
Consummate musicians and storytellers, Kim and Reggie combine a strong folk and gospel legacy with a solid background in classical, rock, jazz and pop music. Creative curiosity, years of road and stage experience and interactions with performers such as Pete Seeger, Ysaye Barnwell, Jay Leno, Tom Paxton, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Harry Belafonte and others, has led them to produce music that entertains and inspires.
Audiences at venues such as The Kennedy Center, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Smithsonian Institute, Reunion Arena in TX, the Psalm Festival in Graz, Austria, as well as a myriad of theatre arts centers, festivals, universities and schools, have given this inspiring duo standing ovations for their vibrant performances.
Proceeds from this concert will benefit the First Parish's Helen Robinson Wright fund, which provides assistance for individuals in need.
Matthew Byrne was born into a family of Newfoundland music makers and his repertoire is heavily influenced by this unique singing tradition. It is a tradition that thrives on the song - the weaving of a great story with a beautiful melody - and Matthew's music reminds us how satisfying traditional songs can be when stripped down to these basic elements. His live performances offer tasteful and honest interpretations of folk songs delivered with polished guitar work and powerful vocals. His repertoire transcends time and place and offers a collection of traditional songs from both sides of the Atlantic.
It has been four years since Matthew burst on to the trad scene with his debut recording, "Ballads" - an album that confirmed his status as one the east coast's most authentic and vital traditional voices. In that time, Matthew's music has traveled well beyond the rugged shores of his homeland. His role as singer and song-finder in The Dardanelles has brought him to many major international stages throughout around the globe including the Winnipeg Folk Festival, Celtic Connections in Glasgow, UK, and The Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland, Australia.
Matthew is currently promoting his second solo offering - Hearts & Heroes, an album that brilliantly showcases his musical growth as a traditional singer and guitar player since his debut album, and asserts a new level of musicianship and a skill with interpreting traditional songs. The influence of four years with a powerful and rhythmic trad group is evident in many places throughout this recording. Songs like "Bold Nelson" and "McAlpine's Crew" showcase a thicker band sound and balance beautifully alongside the stark, stripped-down arrangements on the record. Each song is a captivating story delivered with a powerful voice and masterful guitar playing. Hearts & Heroes is available in stores and online.
"This is a really exciting tour for me," says Byrne from his home in St. John's, Newfoundland. "I've been down to the Northeastern US for several festivals, both solo and with The Dardanelles, but this will be my first proper solo tour. It's an area that's full of traditional music lovers as well as historical links with Newfoundland. I can't wait to bring my new album to these audiences so I can share my stories and hear theirs as well."
Take a moment to read this article about him, and watch the video. If you're not familiar with him, this should convince you that you don't want to miss this concert! Matthew Byrne on VerbNews
One of the world's leading experts on traditional music of the sea, Bob Walser, presents a concert of shanties and sailors' songs, pub songs, ballads, and songs with great choruses that invite everyone to participate.
Musician, scholar and educator Bob Walser's musical career spans decades and continents. In the early 1980s he made his living as a shantyman(!) at Mystic Seaport. Now based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he has presented folk music and dance programs as an artist-in-residence in schools across the USA, and performed as a singer, dance leader and dance musician from Maine to California and overseas.
As a scholar, Bob earned his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies. Since 2002 he has worked with an international team of scholars on the James Madison Carpenter folksong collection in a project based at the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He has three CDs on The Old and New Tradition label to his credit, as well as guest appearances on another dozen recordings in the US, France and England.
In 2012 Bob led a special project which restored the long-lost Dreg Songs (oyster fishing rowing songs) to their home waters of the Firth of Forth after over 100 years. In the nineteenth century, Scotsmen fished for oysters in the Firth of Forth by dragging dredges over the oyster 'scalps'. To maintain a steady speed they sang as they rowed. Overfishing brought the industry to a close near the turn of the twentieth century and with it, the use of the dreg songs. In the 1930s James Madison Carpenter gathered some of these songs on wax cylinders and typewritten pages. For years the songs were hidden away - lost. With the work of the James Madison Carpenter Project these songs came back to life in their home waters of the Firth.
It will be a rousing evening of stories and traditional maritime songs. Hope to see you there!
Purchase tickets online at BrownPaperTickets.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.
We're excited to present our third annual showcase of young performers who sing and play traditional (or trad-like) folk songs and tunes. Performers include Max Godfrey, Elias Alexander and Vox Hunters (Armand Aromin and Benedict Gagliardi). The show will be opened by The Miller Family and The Ladles.
Max Godfrey is a Georgia singer, music teacher, and aspiring farmer. He got started singing worksongs at Sylvester Manor Farm on Shelter Island and has travelled around the country sharing call-and-response songs at farms, grange halls, and festivals in hopes of weaving traditional music back into the fabric of everyday life. His loud-hollering style reflects the diverse influences of Big Bill Broonzy, Roscoe Holcomb, Blind Willie McTell, and Tommy Jarrell.
Elias Alexander throws himself wildly into a number of artistic forms, including music, acting, and poetry. Originally from Oregon, he graduated from Middlebury College in 2013 with an honors degree in music. While in Vermont he was winner of the Young Adult category at the Vermont Young Tradition Competition 2012. He then moved down to Boston to be part of the vibrant celtic and acoustic music scene. He is the frontman and piper of Afro-Celtic Funk band Soulsha, which he co-founded with keyboard and mandolin magician Neil Pearlman. He also plays border pipes and sings in the Boston-based modern-Scottish group Fresh Haggis, percussion and pipes in fusion band Cat and the Moon, and harmonica, guitar, and fiddle in a duo with Max Godfrey, of Georgia. Max and Elias's debut CD will be released this spring.
Vox Hunters (Armand Aromin and Benedict Gagliardi) are musically bound by a shared love of traditional Irish music as well as an eclectic amalgam of songs both inside and far outside the realm of "folk music". Armed with 2 voices, a fiddle and a concertina the boys present an exciting repertoire of driving dance tunes blended with an unorthodox collection of interesting songs and musical varia.
The show will open with two talented groups of young performers: The Ladles and The Miller Family. The Ladles (Katie Martucci on guitar, vocals and fiddle, Caroline Kuhn on tenor banjo and vocals, and Lucia Purpura-Pontoniere on fiddle and vocals) met this past fall at the New England Conservatory of Music where they are all students in the Contemporary Improvisation program. After discovering their shared love of harmony (and knitting) they decided to form a band. All three are songwriters and performers in their own right, but together they create a unique sound influenced by their backgrounds in traditional folk, jazz, choral music, and Motown. Their songs are a combination of rich harmony, traditional acoustic instrumentation and distinctive arrangements.
The Miller Family siblings, Ruby May, Evelyn and Samuel from Smithfield, Rhode Island, have been teaming up with local master artists including Atwater-Donnelly and Sheila Falls to hone their musical skills since they were 7, 9 and 11. Although Ruby and Evelyn have full time college schedules, and Samuel is in high school, they continue to study classical piano as well as traditional music on guitar, fiddle, whistle, bodhrán, harmonica and concertina. They have competed in numerous regional and national Irish step dancing contests with The Goulding School of Irish Dance. Infusing their performances with toe-tapping rhythm and rich vocal harmonies, they bring a unique interpretation to traditional music.
FSSGB is delighted to be able to present these talented young musicians and support their efforts to carry on the tradition. Back in May 2014, Max and Elias charmed FSSGB audiences in a house concert, and we look forward to hearing more from all these performers in the future.
The Savoy Family Cajun Band plays honed down, hard-core Cajun music laced with an earthy sensuality. In their hands, the old tunes have been revived and returned to new life. Marc and Ann Savoy and their sons Joel and Wilson are strong individual musicians working together to create a tight, intense sound.
Marc and Ann have been performing and recording together since 1977. They have traveled all over the world, appearing in such prestigious venues as the Newport Folk Festival, the Berlin Jazz Festival, the Smithsonian Institution, the Getty Museum, and the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. Ann and Joel appeared in the film Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood and they performed on the Warner Brothers Soundtrack, as well as at the film's premiere in Los Angeles. Ann served as associate music producer on All The King's Men (Sony Pictures) , wrote a song that was used in the film, and she, Joel and Wilson appeared therein with Sean Penn as musicians.
Marc Savoy has received the National Heritage Fellowship Award. Marc and Ann appeared on the PBS series "American Roots," and Ann wrote the chapter on Cajun music in the book , Rolling Stones Press,that accompanied the series. Ann was awarded the Botkin Book Award for her definitive Cajun Music, A Reflection of a People. Wilson, as a member of the Grammy-nominated Pine Leaf Boys, appeared on HBO's "Treme" series. And Joel was a founding member of the Red Stick Ramblers and today has his own record company, Valcour Records..
Maintaining a more acoustic approach to Cajun music, the Savoy Family Cajun Band can nonetheless hold its own amongst Cajun music lovers everywhere, and takes pride in drawing considerable power from four acoustic instruments. Sometimes the group demonstrates the way Cajun music has evolved by featuring the early double fiddle - triangle sound or an accordion - fiddle duet. Early French ballads are added to the program to show other historic elements of early southwest Louisiana.
Between the songs Ann may briefly translate the songs' Cajun French poetry. She also, sometimes, in concert settings, does beautiful readings from the old Cajun masters from her book on the history of Cajun music.The repertoire is chosen carefully: popular dancehall tunes interspersed with soulful ballads, fiddle and vocal duets, and blues. The songs show the spectrum of Cajun life from sorrow and lost love to nonsense and the joy of dance. The Savoy Family Cajun Band brings the raw energy of the dancehalls of southwest Louisiana to the stage, peppered with humorous and informative anecdotes about life in the Cajun heartland.
Cathy Barton and Dave Para give dynamic performances acclaimed for their variety and expertise in both vocal and instrumental styles. Their repertoire and informal audience rapport are marked by a special affection for traditional music. Their more than 35 years of playing together have taken them to festivals, clubs, concert halls, schools and recording and media studios across the United States and five European tours. Their audiences are as diverse as their repertoire.
A versatile duo, Dave and Cathy perform and conduct workshops with hammered and fretted dulcimers, banjo, guitars and Autoharp, as well as "found" instruments like bones, spoons, mouthbow and leaf. Their music ranges from driving string band music to contemplative ballads and airs. They have a knack for finding unusual, rarely heard songs from traditional and contemporary sources in their home region, but also from elsewhere in the US and Europe. They have conducted many topical workshops on songs from the Carter family, the Civil War, river lore, gospel, children's songs, Christmas music and Ozark ballads.
"Cathy Barton and Dave Para, as much as any folk musicians I know, carry on the sense of importance of folk music, the value of digging for old musical gold, of traveling far and wide to collect old songs and tunes, and of being friends with, rather than exploiters of the old-timers who have provided such wonderful musical foundations for us all." --Ed Trickett
Please bring a contribution for the potluck dinner if you are able.
Describing herself simply as a "Modern English Musician" Eliza Carthy, at 39, is only now beginning to reach the height of her musical powers. During a 25-year journey/career she has become one of the most dazzling and recognised folk musicians of a generation. She has revitalised and made folk music relevant to new audiences and has captured the most hardened of dissenters with canny, charismatic and boundary-crossing performance. Many of the current crop of young professional folk musicians owe their successes in part to her determination, standard-bearing and campaigning spirit.
Yorkshire-born and based in Edinburgh since 1997, Eliza, daughter of legendary British folk icons Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson, grew up immersed in the world of traditional English music. She has lived a life based on the philosophy that it is a genre worthy of and equal to any other, and that musicians need no boundaries and deserve no restrictions to what they do as artists.
Touring on and off since the age of fourteen, Eliza has appeared at a huge number of live events, multi-artist concerts and benefits from Robin Hood's Bay Village Hall to the Albert Hall. She has been a part of three Meltdowns at London's Southbank: those of Nick Cave, Patti Smith and Richard Thompson. This year she has been invited to curate her own three day event at Kings Place in London.
Eliza rarely performs solo, so this is a very rare treat, and we expect it to sell out and gather up a long waiting list! Be sure to make your reservations quickly.